A REGIONAL development fund will finance the relocation of a famous monument at the entrance of a historic Bahrain village to pave the way for much-needed road development, it was revealed.
Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf said yesterday the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has stepped in to shoulder the expenses of the complete project which will be put out to tender by month’s end.
The 14-metre-high A’ali Pottery Monument, which represents the traditional handicraft of the village for around 4,000 years, was set up at the roundabout near Ramli Mall on Shaikh Zayed Highway in 2007.
It is made of cement and a concrete base and has cost the government BD200,000.
The highway and the nearby Zayed Town were also covered through financing from the same fund two decades ago.
“The monument is located in a roundabout at a focal spot on the highway and is causing massive tailbacks and has to be removed so we can carry out expansions and introduce traffic lights,” said Mr Khalaf.
“If things go ahead as planned and now with us securing the required financing from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and with us looking to tender the whole revamp by this month’s end, the contractor is set to step in at the end of this year and work to begin at the end of December,” he added.
“The whole project was just an idea from the Northern Municipal Council last month, but it has gone a long way in a very short time.
“The monument will be moved to the roundabout near Naim Grills and it will still be visible from Shaikh Zayed Highway or the Ramli Mall roundabout since it is just 100 metres away – as suggested by area councillor Abdulla Ashoor.”
The council presented the minister with the proposal last month following several complaints that the roads leading to the roundabout were constantly crowded, causing huge traffic jams and long delays.
On one side the highway is the main link to the Educational Area in Isa Town and on the other side it leads to Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Highway.
The area also witnesses a huge flow of vehicles used by driving instructors and traffic examiners from the Driving School Bahrain located on the same highway.
Meanwhile, Mr Khalaf yesterday honoured Southern Municipal Council members, senior Southern Municipality officials, journalists and contributors at a ceremony at the Royal Golf Club.
The four-year term of the municipal councils and the Capital Trustees Board ended last month.
Mr Ashoor thanked the UAE for its generosity in helping develop the highway originally funded by the emirates.
“I have been told the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development stepped in the moment problems on the highway were highlighted in the GDN last month,” he said.
“The monument is beautiful, despite numerous attempts to deface it over the years, either by anti-government graffiti or Molotov cocktails hurled at it.
“Moving it will serve two purposes – it will be at the direct entrance of the village and at direct watch and at the same time pave way for development.”